Our patients - update | News and events

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Our patients - update

Our amazing people have responded to the demands of coronavirus (COVID-19) with extraordinary energy, effort, and dedication to our patients.

We have transformed the way that we provide care in the last few months to ensure the safety of our patients and our people.

While coronavirus (COVID-19) remains at the forefront of the national consciousness, we are also looking to the future and what our patients can expect when accessing our services.

What to expect

  • More outpatient clinics will be held virtually by technology systems such as ‘Attend Anywhere’, giving patients and clinicians a direct video link to each other from the comfort of the patient’s home.
  • Appointment letters and clinical correspondence will be more accessible by text messages, rather than via letters in the post. Letters will still be sent in the post to those who prefer this method of communication.
  • Services which have previously been accessed on a ‘walk-in’ basis may need to be replaced by more ‘appointment based’ services. This will be determined by each service in response to national social distancing guidance, levels of demand and urgency of appointments. This may apply to services such as blood tests, X-rays and ECGs, for example.
  • Staff and patients, where appropriate, across all services will likely be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This will be in line with national guidance, and is likely to include circumstances where patients will have close contact with healthcare professionals during an appointment, such as physiotherapy sessions or diagnostic tests and scans.
  • Waiting room access will be controlled with protective screens at many reception points.
  • There will be extended waiting list times for diagnostics for routine tests. Please be assured that any urgent diagnostic test will continue to be seen within a clinically appropriate timeframe.
  • Patients will be given clear, up-to-date information about how we will maintain their safety while receiving care in our hospitals.
  • Visiting to our hospital is to remain suspended until further notice. We know how important visitors are to our patients, however, at this time as we manage the demands of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have made the decision to suspend visiting to patients we are currently caring for. The only exceptional circumstances where an immediate family member or carer can visit are:
  • The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care
  • You are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour
  • You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child
  • You are supporting someone with a mental health issue, who has dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed

Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements. Please ensure that you follow the national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of coronavirus, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS. Your health, safety and wellbeing, that of our patients, communities and our people remain our absolute priority.

To keep in touch with your loved ones in hospital, we offer a message to a loved one and virtual visting service. Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this challenging time.

  • Post-discharge care/follow up and a pre-discharge process will be in place to support our patients safely home following treatments.
  • Post discharge advice and support will be provided using our videoconferencing facilities.
  • We will share further up-to-date information about how to support our patients regarding when to visit the hospital, when to go to A&E, when they can consult remotely, and when they should access online/local pharmacy support (e.g. for minor injuries).

Thank you to you all at work in these tough times. You are all brilliant trying so save lives and trying to beat this horrible virus. Without you we don’t know where we would be now. Love to you all in these challenging times for our NHS.